All Smiles From The Champ

Graeme McDowell feels great.

He’s in such a good mood, he made a guy who got up at 4 in the morning feel awake on Tuesday at Congressional Country Club.

McDowell, the defending champion of the U.S. Open, begins his title defense on Thursday morning just before 8 AM. “Defending titles is strange,” McDowell said before the first real packed house press conference of the week. “I’m level par on Thursday morning.”

G-Mac, who wears his nickname on the back of his hat, understands and enjoys the attention. But he’d like to move on from his win last year at Pebble. “I really want to look forward to the next part of my career,” McDowell hammered home on more than one occasion.

McDowell’s had a rough ride on every tour in the last couple of months. He missed the cut at The Masters and said on Tuesday that he “blew it” at The Players. G-Mac doesn’t much enjoy tournaments with articles on the front end of them.

“I probably can’t top the feeling I had in 2010,” McDowell stated. All he did was win the U.S. Open and clinch one of the more exciting Ryder Cups in recent history. Not a bad year for anyone.

McDowell reiterated that all four majors have a distinct feel to them and the crowds in Washington should make this event extraordinary.  Curious to see how DC welcomed a major for the first time since I graduated high school, I walked around the grounds around midday on Tuesday.

You couldn’t go anywhere.

It’s the best possible problem for the USGA. Expect a record number of folks to attend Washington’s most important sports event of the summer.

As for McDowell, he still feels great.

He’d feel even better if he got his trophy back on Sunday night.

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